One-sentence Bible Summaries

Dan Ortlund, a senior editor in the bible division at Crossway Books, recently posed an interesting question to a few folks he described as "thoughtful scholars and pastors.": "What's the message of the Bible in one sentence?" Answers from the (all male) group ranged from somewhat lengthy and interpretive:

The OT storyline appears best to be summarized as: the historical story of God who progressively reestablishes his new creational kingdom out of chaos over a sinful people by his word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and redemption, resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend that new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful (defeat and exile), all of which issues into his glory; the NT storyline can be summarized as: Jesus’ life of covenantal obedience, trials, judgmental death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit has launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-and-not-yet promised new creation reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend this new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful, unto God’s glory. — Greg Beale

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to extremely concise and literal:

Verbum caro factum est. —Mark Seifrid

to somewhere in between:

The first sentence that comes to mind is that of my colleague Michael D. Williams, who describes the Bible's story about the world as follows: God made it, we broke it, Jesus fixes it! — Jay Sklar

The complete list can be found here.

Of course, in an exercise such as this, there are bound to be disagreements regarding each summary's emphasis or interpretation, which is exactly what makes it such an interesting exercise. It forces each of us to look at our own view of Scripture and to see how that view may be supported or challenged in light of what others see as most important.

My summary?: "Be not afraid."

I'd love to hear your own thoughts. How would you summarize the Bible in one sentence?

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John McGrath
6 years 9 months ago
One sentence Bible summary: "Build communities of mutual respect, good will. That's the only way to show you love God."

Jesus summarizes with line from Leviticus (here partly paraphrased): "Love God wholly, truly ... Love your neighbor as yourself." 
Catherine Jayjack
6 years 9 months ago
Hey!  No fair using a semicolon to turn a paragraph into a sentence!
Kang Dole
6 years 9 months ago
Don't make fn of bald guys, because a bear might eat you.
Bill Collier
6 years 9 months ago
He came, He saw, He conquered (death).
Jim McCrea
6 years 9 months ago
Who, me; yes, you!
JOHN MACK
6 years 9 months ago
God creates, loves, and saves. 

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